Prankster narrative in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The opening lines of Ken Kesey's 1962 novel recall the title imagery and central metaphor of psychiatrist Frantz Fanon's 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks: [t]hey're out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them" (3). Read within the context of Fanon's concern with colonization Cuckoo's Nest presents a satirical microcosm of a male dominated society creating a place where colonial gender constructs disintegrate into the post-colonial as perceived by the culturally displaced Chief Bromden. The evident effects of Chief Bromden's sociocultural displacement demand a Fanonian context. However, in the literary world Kesey inhabits, Herman Melville's palpable presence encourages an examination of the post-colonial nature of the asylum through the lens of 19th century literature. This approach reveals the nature of prankster narrative and con artistry in Chief Bromden's colonized voice.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English